Hikes for Kids: Covel Creek River Trail (Cispus Environment Learning Center)

Nitty Gritty

  • There are several trails one can take. The loop we did was 4.5 miles and not for young children. They will do well walking to the waterfall (Silver Creek Falls). From there, turn back and do the lower portions. The trail above is very narrow, uneven, with a severe drop off. Not safe for young walkers.

During our annual camp out with our teardrop group at Mossyrock, 6 of us decided to head out on a hike. Our summer was particularly dry this year and fires pretty much had us surrounded, which made finding open wild space to walk a bit tricky.

Hiking during forest fires (they were roughly 50 miles from us in Issaqua) is something I haven’t spent much time doing and there were a few things that I found quite interesting. The light is so different than what we are used to seeing. The sun was so red, making the forest have this orange tinge to it. You felt like you were walking at sunset for hours. Air quality is poor and I found my lungs to be heavy for a couple of days following. The risk might have been a little greater than first realized as during our walk the winds switched a little and started moving toward us. Luckily we were able to make it out with no problem, but it really could have been. Mother Nature will do as she wishes and it is all about calculated risk. We calculated well that day, but felt the effects of our decisions for a few days.

We popped into the local Forest Ranger Station after 2 failed attempts at getting to trail heads that were closed, and learned of some areas that were open for hikers. They gave us several suggestions and we chose to do the Covel Creek River Trail at the Cispus Environment Learning Center.

That isn't fog, it is smoke from a fire burning about 50 miles away.
That isn’t fog, it is smoke from a fire burning 50 miles away.

The website above says the hike is easy, but I would probably say it is a little bit harder than that. Make sure to pick up a trail map at the office of the Learning Center so you can get your bearings.

The hike starts off with a relatively small incline (this part is easy!) walking along the creek through a lush forest. Following the creek, you have a choice of which trail you want to take – there is one that goes up either side of the creek. Due to low water we were able to cross the creek with a small jump as we went up the trail on the left side. This could have been an issue if there had been a good amount of rain. We missed the cut off for the brand new, beautiful bridge, that would have been a nicer path, although it also involved crossing some large felled trees that can be slick, so watch your footing. You really get to chose your own adventure! There are also some other fun bridge crossings which our son found to be exciting.

Either way will take you to the first water fall, which is Covel Creek Falls. This is reminiscent of our walks at Silver Creek Falls because you get to walk behind the water fall! On a hot day, this can be quite refreshing! It doesn’t look very impressive in my picture, but this was taken in our drought year, in August, and we were just happy to see some water coming over the top! We weren’t sure if the waterfalls would be running at this point in the year. After you come through the waterfall is where the big incline starts, and continues for nearly a mile, switch-backing up the hill. This is the point I would say wasn’t “easy”. The trail is also quite narrow and it is a long drop if your footing isn’t secure, so our son was a little nervous but did fine. After you climb the big hill and descend a bit on the other side, you will have a choice of going left or right. We were a bit confused, but chose left, which kept us on our path. This will take you to your next reward, Angel Falls! Again, this water fall was running, but not as well as usual, but it was still beautiful.

It was in this area we saw a bit of wildlife, but you have to look closely. We came across one of our frogs! I am not an expert, but based on the research I did, I believe it to be one of our Cascade Frogs! Keep an eye out, because you might see one too! And also, you don’t want to step on our little forest friends who might just be hanging out! They blend in with the ground especially!

IMG_7619As we continued on, the smoke was getting thicker and we decided we needed to start hustling back to the car. The scenery along the way back didn’t disappoint. Around the rock faces, be careful of wasps nests. One of our friends was stung in that area.

The hike in all ended up being around 4.5 miles and took us about 1.5 hours or so. There are port-a-potties at the Learning Center and driving directions can be found here.

I would love to go back and explore more and see the falls with more volume. Plus that hill was tough on my fractured leg, so I would love to go an conquer it with confidence! This hike is one we recommend for sure!

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